The SAF-Scout Friendship Camp held in Bhutan from 20th - 26th February 2002 was organized by the Pakistan Boy Scouts Association along with South Asia Foundation.
It is a matter of great pride that a 24-strong contingent from Pakistan consisting of girl and boy scouts left Pakistan to participate and represent the nation in this camp, the objectives of which was to deliver a message of love, peace and cooperation to neighbouring South Asian friends.
The first ever participation of 10 girl students was made possible due to the sincere efforts and initiative of the Federal Minister of Education and Chief Commissioner, Mrs. Zobaida Jalal; Qazi Zahoor-ul-Hassan; Commander (Retd) Aftab A. Qureshi, Director Training and Programmes and Feroz A. Siddiqi, Deputy Director of PR and Publications, all of whom worked extremely hard to implement the directives of the minister. The participants were all given meticulous training, arranged at short notice.
All necessary arrangements regarding logistics and other related matters were tied up and properly coordinated by the dynamic team of PRSA. Mr. Feroz A. Siddiqi was appointed as the overall leader of the contingent, whose dedication to the cause was reflected by the brilliant success of the endeavor and the applause he received.
Two female leaders Mrs. Farhat and Mrs. Fakhar Karim also accompanied the contingent and provided effective and able guidance to the girl as well as boy scouts. The cooperation of the parents was greatly appreciated, all of whom showed great confidence in sending their children to a remote country like Bhutan.
Departure from Islambad
All the male and female students from different parts of the country assembled at the PBSA Headquarters in Islamabad on 1st February 2002. Scouts Secretary Qazi Zahoor-ul-Hassan, Cdr. (Retd) Aftab A. Qureshi and Feroz A. Siddiqi gave them and their parents a warm welcome.
The chief guest was Mr. Sarfraz Ahmed Syed, the Senior Dy. Chief Commissioner, PBSA, who acquainted the scouts with the importance of the mission, welcoming them as ambassadors of universal love, peace and cooperation. He was briefed by the team of scouts association regarding their training.
The secretary Qazi Zahoor-ul-Hassan was fully confident that the contingent of scouts would keep the Pakistani flag flying high.
The contingent departed for Lahore by a coaster from Islamabad. The flight from Lahore to Doha took 2 hours and landed at Doha at 9 pm local time on the 19th February 2002. The contingent had a one-night stay at Doha and took the flight early the next morning to the capital of Nepal, Katmandu.
The contingent stayed there for one night and left the next day, the 21st of February, for Thimphu in Bhutan, their final destination. The one hour flight on Druk Air, the official name of Bhutanese airlines, passed over beautiful mountain ranges including Mount Everest, arriving safe and sound at Paro Airport in Bhutan.
The Bhutan Scouts Association had arranged for a bus to collect the Pakistani contingent, which took the group to the main camp at Thimphu. The Journey from Paro to Thimphu took 2 hours.
Events at SAF-Scout Friendship Camp (Bhutan)
The Pakistani contingent reached Thimphu on the 21st of February 2002. There was an opening ceremony, flag-hoisting and group photos.
All the contingents of the SAARC nations attended the ceremony. The Pakistani contingent was given an extremely warm welcome by the SAF Authorities.
Breakfast was served at 7:30 am sharp. The Pakistani contingent was routinely punctual and it was observed that they were always the first to be served. All the contingents stayed at Motihang School in Thimphu, where the youth conference was due to be held.
The chief guest addressed the contingents and the contingent leaders. Silent prayers were also offered for the founder of the world scouting organization.
After refreshments at 11:00 am speeches were made by two boy and girl scouts from each country. Syeda Qurat-ul-Ain and Mohammad Siddiq from the Pakistani contingent acquitted themselves admirably; their topic was the role of boy and girl scouts in peace and cooperation among the SAARC Nations.
Everyone appreciated the excellent performance of both speakers, the Pakistani contingent thus demonstrating their determination and pride. The main points elucidated by our girl scout were:
a) To promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and improve their quality of life.
b) To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to promote and strengthen collective self-reliance.
c) To contribute collective minds, understanding and application to each other’s problems.
After the speech, group discussions took place. It is a matter of great pride that most of the leadership went to Pakistani boys and girls. The Executive Member was also from the Pakistani contingent.
Four sub-groups were formed in which 3 leaders were from the Pakistani contingent. Muhammad Siddiq and Qurat-ul-Ain were appointed as leaders of the sub-group camps.
Usher Bajwa and Sana Mirza were elected secretaries and Sana Hamid was elected the vice chairman who was supposed to pass the recommendations made by leaders of the sub-group camps.
The camps comprised different boy and girl scouts from different SAARC countries. The leaders made recommendations and a rough draft was prepared.
Recommendations were made on the same topic as that of our speech. The Pakistani contingent actively participated in every discussion. At 6:30 pm there was a campfire followed by dinner.
Exhibition and EID
At 8:30 the stalls were set up for the exhibition. All the contingents had set up stalls displaying traditional artifacts. Guests were welcomed. Eid was also observed as the Bangladesh embassy invited the Pakistan and Maldives for Eid prayers and served Eid delights.
The Pakistan contingent was dressed in Eid clothes. At 10:30 there was sale on the items from the exhibition. The Pakistani stall was among the best, attracting a great many people and much appreciation. At 2:00 pm a community service was held, in which all groups were to help the Bhutanese boy and girl scouts in cleaning up different areas.
At 10:00 am sharp, a cultural show was held with all the contingents from different countries displaying traditional dress. The Pakistani contingent displayed their culture beautifully, with girl and boy scouts displaying different cultural dresses, greatly appreciated by all.
At 2:00 pm, the Bhutan Scouts Association arranged an excursion trip for all the groups and showed them different historical places around Thimphu. At 6:30 pm a campfire was arranged followed by dinner.
At 8:30 am, resolutions were finalized. Discussions were held and the executive committee with the help of the leaders prepared a final draft after lunch.
At 2:00 pm, the closing ceremony took place and it was declared by voting that the next SAF Scout Friendship Camp would be held in the Maldives. An exchange of mementos and certificates took place. Feroz Siddiqi, the Pakistani contingent leader, also presented mementos to different representatives of SAARC nations and to the Bhutan Scouts Association and representatives of SAF.
He thanked H.E Lyono Sangay Ngedup, Minister and Chairman of SAF, and the honorary president of the Bhutan Scouts Association. A special message from Mrs. Zobaida Jalal Minister an honorary president of the Pakistan Scouts Association was delivered. Lowering of the flags was conducted at about 5:00 pm. At 6:00 pm a grand campfire was held followed by dinner.
Conference Resolution Unanimously Approved by the Delegates.
We, the 550 delegates of the SAF Scouts Friendship Camp, from the seven countries of Scouts Asia would like to put forward the following recommendations:
1. We request SAF to continue this friendship camp in the future as an annual event with the next to be held in the Maldives.
2. We request the national scouts organizations to establish a special fund, which could be used for community development in the host country.
3. We resolve that we will be rôle models to others and shall maintain our friendship through the web community provided for by the rainbow partnership.
4. We resolve to help in raising the literacy rate in SAARC countries through educating others individually.
5. We believe that any form of violence is not the solution to conflict and therefore advocate non-violent means through dialogue and negotiation.
6. We, as scouts, resolve to organize campaigns on community service, international understanding and public relationships projects etc. which would lead to global peace.
7. Each national organization should give an annual report on the performance of its national scouts organizations under the resolution of the SAF-Scout Friendship Camp Conference 2002.
8. The recommendations made after the camp can be made available on the internet or via SAF newsletters, which should be distributed among scouts in the SAARC countries.
1. Kuenga Lhendup - Chairman (Bhutan)
2. Sana Hamid Syed - Vice Chairman (Pakistan)
3. Muhammad Fazly Farooq – Secretary (Sir Lanka)
4. Muhammad Zaushan – Reporter (Maldives)
5. Amit Kumar Dtheputhe – Member (Nepal)
6. Nikhil Victor D'Souza – Member (India)
7. Amran Sohail – Member (Bangladesh)
Monthly Pak Scout, Islamabad.